Every since the birth of the See Body. Love Self.™ movement, and even before then, I have passionately shared the message of self love. I even adopted the tagline for SBLS: “Embrace your body now. Love yourself always.™” that encourages people to love the bodies they are in this moment in life, and always love themselves. However, the more I spread this message and interact with people who hear it, the more I realize that a lot of us are extremely challenged with the idea of loving our bodies. I would even venture to say that quite a few people find the idea of loving their bodies to be WRONG. I read this article by Anna Guest-Jelle, founder of “Curvy Yoga” and it absolutely resonated with me. It echoes the sentiments that I have been feeling.
What I am learning is that we have become so accepting of society’s ideal image of what the “perfect” body is, that we believe anything other than that ideal is to be HATED, even our own bodies. We have allowed external sources to tell us what should and should not be loved. So when our own bodies do not match the social standards, we embrace body hate. Now most of us are not willing to openly admit that we actually are embracing body hate, but here are some examples of what body hate looks like:
- Comparing your body to another person, wishing you looked like them instead of like yourself
- Telling yourself and others that you will be beautiful when you reach a certain size or appearance
- Depriving yourself of activities, relationships, and experiences because your body is not “perfect” yet
- Thinking of fitness or nutrition as “punishment” for the choices you’ve made and the body you have
- Speaking negatively about your body parts because they don’t match the social beauty standard
- Covering up, concealing, or hiding your body because it brings you shame or embarrassment.
Do any of these acts sound familiar to you? I know that I have experienced every single one of them and as I continue on my body journey, I am still learning to abandon some of the them little by little. I understand how challenging it can be to renew your mind and see yourself through a filter of love, not hate. It is about literally reprogramming your thoughts, so that you can change your choices and thereby alter your actions towards yourself and others.
I believe the key to finding the power to build a healthy, happy life begins with learning to love who we are. Loving our bodies is not about remaining stagnant. It is understanding that we cannot nurture what we do not love. Hate of anything will NEVER beget love. As we choose to love our bodies now, we empower ourselves to make healthy choices for our lives mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When we love our bodies and renew our minds our perspectives change. Here are examples of how the thoughts mentioned before look through the filter of body love:
- We celebrate the bodies of others because we also honor ourselves. No compairing
- We see ourselves as beautiful through all stages of our life journey.
- We enjoy life and experiences in our current bodies. No deprivation
- We see nutrition and fitness as opportunities to nurture our bodies and love ourselves. No punishment
- We speak positively about our bodies to ourselves and others even during physical transitions
- We use radical self expression with our bodies and abandon shame.
Will you allow yourself to love and be loved just as you are? Embracing such love will birth freedom into your life and the beauty you have been searching for will emanate outward from within. Try it! I did.
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